The Economist’s GRE prep program, called the Economist GRE Tutor, recently underwent a full refresh thanks to the company’s new partnership with examPAL. ExamPAL previously operated its own independent GRE and GMAT courses, but is now contributing its stellar course material, PALgorithm technology, and adaptive course lessons to The Economist’s GRE Tutor program.
This new combo has resulted in a great all-around GRE prep course that combines examPAL’s unique approach to adaptive problem-solving with The Economist’s reach, experience, and excellent customer service.
In this review, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of the new Economist GRE Tutor prep course, highlighting everything that makes it great for today’s future graduates, while also letting you in on the stuff that may lead you to consider other solid GRE prep course options.
Please note The Economist GRE is one of our affiliate brands, and as such we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to purchase this prep course. Only use our links if you find this review helpful.
1. Course Personalization
The Economist’s new GRE Tutor program uses an interactive, video-based lesson format that explains concepts through animation, diagrams, and more, while encouraging you to answer questions and work through problems during the videos themselves. Regular videos can be helpful on their own, but the ability to actually answer questions and navigate through video sections as part of a lesson can help students lock in information. Plus, since these videos are all mobile-friendly, working through a few lessons from this course on-the-go can be not only doable, but enjoyable.
These videos are a core part of the teaching structure for the Economist’s new course, so if you’re not convinced they’ll be the best learning method for you, we’d recommend using the course’s free 7-day trial to see whether this material is what you’re looking for.
2. PAL Approach
The new Economist GRE Tutor program uses examPAL’s tried-and-true PAL system as an integral part of course instruction. When you answer practice questions through this course, the program will present you with a Precise, Alternative, or Logical solution, and will track your progress as you develop each of these problem-solving skills.
Not every question on the GRE is answered in the same way, and this is exactly what the PAL system can help students work through. Plenty of people find that a test prep course’s explanation just doesn’t make sense to them, but the PAL approach identifies these various ways of working on problems so students can better understand complex concepts through their own point of view. Every student is different, and this course uniquely adapts to test-takers’ different modes of thinking because of its emphasis on this learning method.
3. Prep Add-Ons
The Economist GRE prep course offers three plans for test-takers. For example, their $349 Express plan gets you 6 weeks of access to 3 practice exams, 2 essay reviews, 50 ask-a-tutor questions and access to thousands of practice questions. This is a fair amount of content, but what sets this course apart from the rest of the pack is the freedom students have to easily add on more features through the course’s credit system.
The Express plan provides 1,140 credits, which you can spend on practice questions, more essay reviews, more ask-a-tutor questions, or even on live 1-to-1 sessions with a GRE expert over video chat. Other courses might give you plenty of essay reviews even though you only want to use one, or a thousand more practice questions than you have time to use even though what you really need is to talk through a concept with an expert; with The Economist, you have access to the exact features you need.
To make the most of this feature, we’d recommend you go with their Premium or Genius plans, which are more expensive but include up to 3,270 credits that you can use any way you like.
4. Tutor Support
Sometimes, a practice question just won’t be enough to explain a concept in the detail that you need. When this happens, a real-life tutor is your best bet, and the Economist GRE Tutor course will have you covered.
Some test prep courses charge huge additional fees for that sort of service, but the Economist GRE program has messaging time with real tutors built into each of its plans.
In addition to this ask-a-tutor feature, The Economist also offers live 1-to-1 tutoring sessions as an add-on that can be redeemed with included course credits. With the Genius plan, 3 of these 1-to-1 sessions are actually included in the course already, so you’re guaranteed plenty of time with a GRE expert who can help you work through tough problems quickly and efficiently.
5. Adaptive PALgorithm
This course uses an adaptive algorithm that’s based on the PAL explanation approach (including Precise, Alternative, or Logical solutions) that we mentioned above; the algorithm tailors your course material to your specific learning style according to these three areas. The algorithm itself responds to how you work through problems by recording your feedback after certain practice questions—based on your responses, you’ll get future problems that are custom-made to help you learn using your preferred problem-solving approach, and to help you improve in your problem-solving weak spots.
While plenty of courses will change which lessons you receive at certain points in your curriculum based on your lesson progress, this course changes which questions you receive based on your feedback. In other words, plenty of courses can get a feel for your performance, but this course can get inside your head. When it comes to prepping for the GRE, that level of instructional detail is invaluable.
6. Score Improvement Guarantee
The Economist’s Premium and Genius plans have a strong score improvement guarantee of 6 and 7 points, respectively, meaning that if your official GRE score doesn’t improve by that amount, you can get a full refund of your purchase price for the course. In order to qualify for this, you’ll have to complete a predetermined number of lessons and use up certain course features available to you, so be sure to research all these qualifications before asking for your refund.
7. Essay Review
Along with the course’s full-length official practice exams, essay reviews may be one of the most invaluable tools in The Economist GRE prep toolkit. No matter how many lessons you go through, getting good preparation for the GRE’s AWA section means taking a whack at the essay and receiving feedback from someone who knows what GRE graders will be looking for. Lessons, strategy guides, and video walkthroughs can help you conceptualize what the essay will be like, but there’s no better practice than actually attempting an AWA essay and getting an evaluation.
With any plan from The Economist, you’re guaranteed at least 2 essay reviews off the bat, and can get up to 6 included reviews with the Genius plan. In comparison, some other GRE courses don’t include an essay review feature at all because of how time-consuming it is for GRE tutors. Plus, in addition to the essay reviews included in your course, you can redeem your included credits for even more essay practice and feedback. So if you know that essay writing isn’t your strong suit, but you don’t want to shell out hundreds per hour for a private GRE tutor, the Economist GRE Tutor prep course is an ideal option for you.
1. Limited Practice Questions
One of the upsides of The Economist’s GRE prep is that students can get access to its bank of thousands of practice questions, but this comes with a caveat: questions cost credits, which limits your usable practice questions. In addition, you may want to use some of your credits on other features, limiting that number further. However, this credit system doesn’t mean the Economist GRE tutor won’t provide you with effective practice—it just requires that you think a bit more carefully about which questions you use and why.
And if you’re interested in redeeming your credits for extra features, you’ll have to be extra careful with how many practice questions you use. If that’s the case, it would be a good idea to claim those features sooner rather than later so you aren’t blazing through questions only to find you’ve drained your credit stash dry.
The credit-per-question system is unconventional, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it can encourage you to focus your prep on the areas of practice or features you need most—plenty of courses are charging students for hundreds of questions they won’t take in subjects they feel comfortable with, so all-in-all, this may be a more efficient use of your time and money.
Plus, each course package comes with enough included features that you could dedicate all your credits to questions without a problem, and if you ever do need more credits during your prep, you can always purchase a credit add-on. If you know using loads of practice questions is the best way for you to study, check out Achievable GRE, which includes a question generator that gives you virtually unlimited practice opportunities.
2. Express Features
One downside of The Economist’s GRE prep course is that some of its best features, such as the score guarantee and 1-to-1 tutoring sessions, are only available to those who purchase the more expensive packages of the course.
The Economist’s 6+ and 7+ point score improvement guarantee only apply to the Premium and Genius plans, and the Express package also lacks the Expert Assessment feature, which allows you to get a course progress assessment and studying guidance from one of the course’s GRE tutors.
While this package misses out on some of the Economist’s most appealing features, this is far from a deal breaker. The Express plan still includes over a thousand credits, 2 essay reviews, and 3 practice tests, all of which come together to make it a comprehensive and effective course even when compared to other companies’ more premium offerings. Plus, you can always redeem some of your Express course credits for the additional features included with the Premium and Genius plans, except for the score improvement guarantee.
If you’re hoping to get the most bang-for-your-buck with a prep course, we’d recommend taking a look at Magoosh GRE, which offers tons of features and 6 months of access for only $149.
3. Access Length
When we’ve reviewed other GRE prep programs, we’ve found that even some of their cheaper products can include 6 months to a year of access. In comparison, the Economist’s GRE prep has some shorter access lengths: the Premium plan comes with 3 months of course access, while the Express plan comes with only 6 weeks.
Generally, we recommend that people take around 3 months to study for the GRE, since it allows them to stretch their prep out over time and process information more completely. Everyone’s prep is different though, so plenty of people have taken the GRE using the Express plan to earn great scores. While these tighter access periods aren’t so short that you can’t prep effectively, they are short enough that you don’t have a lot of flexibility. With only 3 months or a month and a half to study, you’re far less likely to be able to take the GRE a second time or drop your prep for a while if things are busy so you can pick it up again later.
Even though they don’t allow a lot of flexibility, these access periods can provide enough time for you to take the test, and you can also ask for course extensions if you’re really strapped for time. For a more flexible access period, though, we recommend checking out Target Test Prep’s monthly plans, which allow you to cancel and resume your subscription whenever it’s convenient for you.
The Economist’s new GRE prep partnership with examPAL has led to a course that’s intuitive, adaptive, highly-customizable, and jam-packed with features. The included GRE essay reviews, tutoring options, and practice tests alone put this course at the forefront of the competition, but the unique PAL approach to studying can put its lessons over the top for anyone who struggles to understand rigid and one-sided explanations.
Ultimately any decision about a test prep program is going to come down to your learning style, and whether the program fits your needs, so if you’re curious about the features, lessons, and PAL approach of The Economist’s GRE prep program, you should definitely try the no-risk 7-day trial to see if the program can help you crush the GRE.
If you’ve read through this review and think the Economist GRE Tutor may not be the best-suited course for you, you can always take a look at the other top GRE courses on the market. Check out our course comparison page using the link below, which walks you through detailed overviews and comparisons of each GRE course’s format, features, price, and more!
Economist GRE Tutor Course Prices & Features
|Express||$349||Self-Paced Online||– 6 weeks access
– 3 month Economist subscription
– 1,140 credits (for add. features)
|Premium||$489||Self-Paced Online||– All Express features
– 3 months access
– 6 point improvement guarantee
– 1,320 credits
|Genius||$699||Self-Paced Online||– All Premium features
– 6 months access
– 7 point improvement guarantee
– 3,270 credits